BertozziBytesize: Why do TV and ‘Digital’ have to argue all the time?

DONT START…I added quotation marks around digital because I know that Tess Alps would be all over it in a second, but I had to describe it as something and there lies the issue for many. Old ways of describing a world moving at a 1000mph are not sitting comfortably at the moment. In the last week or so I have been witnessing the never ending battle of TV vs Digital. The first was during IAB Engage and the second was the Video Ad News conference. Mainly played out on Twitter, noone wins, it normally involves bright people and Nigel Walley and I always wonder what it would be like to have all these people in a room together, working together.

At the heart of the issues lies the definition of what constitutes digital, TV, mobile and how should we talk about them and report them. Those who follow Twitter feeds on the topic will see it is something that appears to have little end in sight. Now I know we are all eating from the same trough, advertiser money, but surely we can work more effectively together and create some strategies that bring all sides together to recognise the benefits of both.

It strikes me that we have a synergistic relationship going on where one supports the other. TV has a history of making brands famous and creating a rapid rise in a brand’s recognition, digital has helped socialise TV and delivers the ROI through websites and follow up digital activity (in addition to instore) but it is vital that we work together to create more studies and more work to prove out these different theories and at an industry level, not just advertiser or agency case studies.

Digital has taken a battering over measurement and quality in recent times and indeed this should and I believe is a wake up call for many in the industry, TV on the other hand is perhaps guilty of resting on some laurels in terms of what it has achieved rather than making sure it is future proofing itself. An amazing amount of progress has been made in the last 2 or 3 years and its great to see but there is a lot more to go. An example of adaptation is where TV may use different tech to deliver ads but can still report back in similar TV metrics and not dive into digital ones, likewise video networks and supply sources have to find a way to include themselves in the GRP discussion rather than bang the table saying, ‘they are right about measurement.’ Todays moderator in an opening address was fast to try and encourage the audience to agree that TV measurement was wrong, we have always known it, but at least it was consistently wrong.’ Controversial. Especially given the current digital malaise. TV measurement is solid if at times a little limited but not wrong.

I would be excited to see TV progress in the way that Sky have started to go, taking incremental steps forward in targeting and reporting and I believe we will rapidly arrive at an offering that combines a good quotient of TV and Digital (there I go again, all TV is digital) benefits. Sky is in the driving seat right now so don’t be surprised to see the channel broadcasters cutting deals with Sky to be able to use Adsmart and IQ like targeting in the future. One area I will be interested in is to see how they embrace the data discussion as regards advertisers and their DMPs. It is still early days but the use of DMPs is moving at pace and becoming more and more sophisticated. As advertisers explore ways to use their first party data against media properties and media buying, perhaps TV has an opportunity to work with them collaboratively and not create another walled garden.

Of course Sky can become the next walled garden and on some levels I would not blame them, but they are in competition with Google and Facebook who most definitely are walled gardens. They  are unlikely to change, Facebook has 350+ billion dollar reasons why it cant be bothered to, BUT ITV and C4 could go a different route and help advertisers invest in their properties and demonstrate sales through integrations with DMPs.

Its not often I sit on the fence or become a middle man, but I believe that we could all learn something from each other and one is not better than the other. The biggest crime is that we don’t admit failings and don’t admit that we could learn from one another. As more TV becomes localised, one important lesson to learn from digital is to not let standards drop on creative. TV advertising on the whole is of the highest standards but as a more local offering creeps in with Sky openly encouraging local businesses to come into the TV market place, we are in danger of having a US experience with men standing outside their local garages offering this weeks best deals. TV must keep creative of the highest standards.

We need to keep going back to understanding people, and as we know, people don’t differentiate these channels in the way our industry does, they instinctively just know what they want from each of them. We could all learn from that too and get on with working out how best to engage them and not annoy them.

We will laugh when we tell our kids we had to watch Ads!

ImageWe will laugh at the idea of having to sit through an Ad we didn’t want to watch in years to come. The likes of CBS, who recently downgraded an award to DISH for their Hopper product (a product that allows the viewer to skip Ads) by influencing the CNET panel, will need to change their views and fast.

 Perhaps people have not noticed but the beginning of the end for being forced to sit through Ads is already underway. Google is building a business on the back of skippable Ads. It is a mere skip and a jump before that model is rolled out to TV. It’s not just Google though. We have all got used to fast forwarding through Ads on our PVR’s. There are companies like DISH, with their Hopper product, making it a central offering.  Even online Apps usually have a premium or Ad subsidised version. Other companies, for example SpotXchange, have rolled out account based solutions where users can pay to skip ads. The concept of not watching Ads you do not want to watch is entering our ecosystem like water pouring through a leaking dam. No matter how you try and plug the leak, the tide is turning and before we know it the idea of forced Ad viewing will be a thing of the past.

 Consumer opinion eventually is paramount. This is not about not watching ads, it is about watching ads that are relevant and entertaining. As viewers get used to skipping ads and companies offer that as an option in a new medium, like TV, consumers will turn there first. The DISH example in the US will be an interesting one to follow. When PVR’s were first launched, the whole industry was very nervous about them and the implications. But we coped. Google’s skippable Ads is a fantastic model for them with incredible CPM’s on ads that are watched through to the end. It works for them. Advertisers also like the idea of paying for real user viewership. The challenge therefore is for advertising to improve (please no more perfume Ads following the same old, superficial format) and for the delivery mechanism to improve.

 This is all fine for online, but TV? No way! Well in case anyone had missed it, TV is changing. The mechanisms through which we watch TV are changing and the way content is being consumed and distributed is changing. Addressable advertising across multiple devices is already under way in Alpha and Beta tests. Ads will become adserved which will allow better targeting and if targeting improves, the response will be better and consumers will appreciate the relevance. If we can do this well then who is to say that the Google business model will not suddenly look attractive to broadcasters?

 Importantly we will question this idea of ‘extra value’ in TV, which is code for wastage as opposed to actually buying the audience we want. An Audience On Demand offering could quickly be applicable in TV. So if we can combine adserving technology, with proper targeting and importantly measurement (let’s not get in to that today!) and sprinkle some consumer boredom with relevant advertising, we are well underway to a world where we tell our Children that; ‘yes they made us sit through five pre-roll ads before we were allowed to see the programme we wanted to watch’ – ‘and at a time dictated by them’! A crazy notion.

Blog also ran on Digiday –

Campaign Forum piece on Fru Hazlitt AOP speech

Marco Bertozzi in Campaign Magazine Forum section 26.10.11

After the presentation by Fru Hazlitt at the AOP forum I was asked to to comment on the idea that data was suffocating clients. Almost all people I spoke to felt the same, Fru had hit the wrong note at the wrong time and that she and ITV were out of touch with what people actually wanted. Data is one of the biggest subjects at the moment and a crucially important planning tool.

The fact remains that ITV dont want to lose control of their VOD and the idea of programmatic buying and exchanges threatens that situation. However they need to look to their competitors in Sky and C4 to see their innovation..article below